Retailers are facing a silent drain on their online revenue due to websites and apps that fail to consider the needs of senior shoppers.

Research by Hassell Inclusion, a digital accessibility firm, reveals a concerning gap. While over-65s spend an average of £163 ($211.22) online monthly, this translates to only 6% of their disposable income.

The research was carried out for Hassell Inclusion by Yolo Communications in November 2023 via online and telephone survey. The sample comprised 1,296 UK adults aged 65 and over.  

This scenario highlights a missed opportunity. Compared to 35-44 year olds, who spend £294 ($376.36) online monthly (constituting 12% of their disposable income), seniors hold significant untapped spending power.

Accessibility issues

In the study, 70% of seniors believe retailers disregard age-related limitations like declining eyesight and reduced dexterity.

Over 80% reported encountering difficulties navigating confusing layouts, reading small text, remembering complex passwords, and finishing tasks before being timed out.

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One third (33%) said they had abandoned an online purchase due to difficulties in using a website or app, while 11% said they would spend more of their money online if the process was easier. 

Regulatory push for change

The upcoming European Accessibility Act mandates improved accessibility for websites and digital services, highlighting the urgency to address this issue.

Jonathan Hassell, CEO of Hassell Inclusion, emphasises the need for immediate action: “The needs of older people are being neglected by retailers and service providers. Failing to seize this opportunity comes at a high price, given the fact that over-65s are the fastest growing demographic. Almost one in four UK adults is already aged 65 or over, so businesses simply cannot afford to ignore their needs any longer.”

Call to action

With the senior population expected to surge, Hassell urges businesses to prioritise accessibility.

“None of us can stop the impairments that come with ageing, and businesses need to consider how this will influence the design of their digital platforms so that they meet the needs of an increasingly tech-enabled older generation.”

By prioritising accessibility, retailers can unlock a significant and loyal customer base, boosting their online revenue and future-proofing their business model.